Hooded Figure in the Fog
The above dog looks a bit how Jimmy looked. He was not unlike a brown ‘Dulux’ dog.
After getting over being frightened of dogs, when I was very young, I then became obsessed with them and just loved to go for walks with one as a companion by my side. I often brought a stray dog back home and once took about five dogs for a walk, all of them found on the streets near my home.
I went back to live at Eastbourne, Sussex, the place of my birth, when I was about sixteen. I lived at my Granny’s house and she had no bath or even a bathroom. Yes, houses did exist, and probably still do, where there was no bathroom. She did have two toilets though. One inside and one outside. She also had an extremely large kitchen and a walk-in pantry.
Often big fat creepy crawlies would come out of the pantry and on a particularly dark night one, which was probably a woodlouse and the size of a large thumb, dropped into my hot milk that I was making for my night-time cocoa. Granny would not let me scoop it out at first and so I watched it swimming around my hot milk. I cannot remember if I drank the cocoa or not after that!
As my Granny did not have a bath I would then walk to the local bath house after work on a Wednesday and have a bath there. Often, too, I would walk across the South Downs from Eastbourne to Polegate and do some ironing for my Auntie in exchange for a bath. This walk, across the top of the Downs took about two hours, but I loved it.
Once I heard a cuckoo calling at the beginning of my walk. However, I can tell you that by the time the end of my walk came I could have strangled that cuckoo. Two plus hours of cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo. Can you imagine it?
I enjoyed taking Jimmy for a walk up on the downs or round the streets for my Auntie as well. We had lots of fun together.
I loved being outside.
One day it was extremely foggy, to say the least. You could not really see your hand in front of your face. However I insisted on taking Jimmy for a walk. I did not put him on a lead and I headed for a little alleyway near the house.
Then, through the fog I saw what looked like a dark figure wearing a cloak and hood. I immediately turned around, called Jimmy and headed for home. A bit disappointed that we had only walked a few yards that afternoon.
I have no idea if the strange, hooded figure was a man or maybe it was a ghost that had been sent to make me go back home. The fog really was the thickest I have ever seen.
That incident reminds me of a true story my mother told me about her friend. Her friend went on a skiiing holiday with the family although she did not enjoy skiiing very much. Mum, dad and the two boys went to the top of the mountain. Dad and the two boys said to get ready and then they were off, skiiing merrily down the slopes. Mum was left behind quite fearful. Then a thick mist descended on the mountain and the lady was totally lost and stranded. She began to move slowly forward and then suddenly saw a very high red brick wall in front of her. Yes, a very high, red brick wall at the top of a snow and mist covered mountain. She did not move any further, indeed she could not move any further because of the high, red brick wall. She waited for what seemed hours and then the fog lifted and before her she saw a great chasm. She steadily edged backwards and then managed to carefully but slowly ski down the slopes. Her family were waiting for her at the bottom of the mountain and asked her where she had been and what she had been doing!
Jimmy used to bark a great deal. My Uncle would pretend to smack his face whenever he did this and in the end Jimmy would bark and then duck. People were amused by his actions but I guess it was not a nice thing for a dog.
Barbara Burgess © 07/03/2015
Image courtesy of Maggie Smith at FreeDigitalPhotos.net